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5 beautiful books to give for Christmas

I think it was Neil Gaiman who said, ‘Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than to buy them the whole world!’ I couldn’t agree more, I love giving and receiving books (added Christmas bonus: they’re dead easy to wrap). So, I’ve turned to the experts and asked Emma Milne-White and her team from The Hungerford Bookshop to pick their favourite books to give for Christmas, starting with 5 beautiful books that look stunning and make gorgeous presents. Kids books coming next!

Beautiful books

There are some books that can never be replicated on a Kindle. This year in particular we have seen some stunning book designs, and not just for coffee table books. Small volumes, cloth-bound, or books with beautiful illustrations make such perfect gifts. We love…

Tidings by Ruth Padel (£9.99 Chatto & Windus)


Tidings takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe. This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection. Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson (£14.99, Jonathan Cape)


Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. And for the icing on the Christmas cake, there are twelve festive recipes from Yuletides past and present.

Explorer’s Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure by Kari Herbert & Huw Lewis-Jones (£29.95 Thames & Hudson)


Here are pioneering explorers and map-makers, botanists and artists, ecologists and anthropologists, eccentrics and visionaries. A handful of living explorers provide their thoughts on the art of exploration. Often battered and neglected, stored away and perhaps long forgotten, many of these sketchbooks have themselves awaited rediscovery. Now is the chance to open them again.

The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair (£20, John Murray)


In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tells the vivid story of our culture.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by JK Rowling; Illustrated by Jim Kay (£30, Bloomsbury)


See the world of Harry Potter as you’ve never seen it before with this glorious, fully illustrated hardback edition, reimagined by award-winning illustrator Jim Kay. All of your favourite characters from Hedwig to Hermione, not to mention Aragog and her terrifying lair, have been lovingly recreated in watercolour reproductions that make Rowling’s characters spring vividly to life from every page. A perfect keepsake for children, or grown-up fans of the series, and we know you’re out there in your millions.

The Hungerford Bookshop, 24 High Street, Hungerford, RG17 0NF. Tel: 01488 683480.

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